What Is The Amish Rumspringa?

By Antonia Čirjak on March 16 2020 in Society

The Amish Rumspringa is a time when young people from the Amish community decide which way they will continue in their life. Image credit: Stephanie L Bishop / Shutterstock.com
The Amish Rumspringa is a time when young people from the Amish community decide which way they will continue in their life. Image credit: Stephanie L Bishop / Shutterstock.com
  • During Rumspringa, Amish people between 16 and 21 have the chance to see the world outside or even leave, unless they join the church.
  • It is common to find a life partner during this period.
  • Pennsylvania is home to massive Rumspringa parties, where 300+ teens party wild in the woods.

The Amish Rumspringa is a time when young people from the Amish community decide which way they will continue in their life. The Rumspringa happens between 16 and 21 years of age, depending on the particular community.

Whether they choose to stay where they were and start a family or leave into the relatively unknown world, the Rumspringa is a turbulent time for a young Amish.

No Parent Or Church Control

When a young Amish person comes to the age of 16, their parents do not have control over them during the weekends. On top of that, they are not yet baptized, which means that the church also can not impose their authority on the Amish teens. 

Image  credit: Gabor Kovacs Photography / Shutterstock.com
One thing is almost immediately questioned by some young people that go through Rumspringa - isolation.Image  credit: Gabor Kovacs Photography / Shutterstock.com

One thing is almost immediately questioned by some young people that go through Rumspringa - isolation. In today’s day and age, living in an isolated community seems like a difficult task for anyone, not just people that are still growing up. The reason why Rumspringa exists in the first place is that it is seen as a needed rite of passage, a chance for Amish people to learn more about the world outside their own. 

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

As they reach their adolescence, some members of the Amish communities like to see what is out there in the world. Leaving into a big city, wearing different clothes, buying cars, or just going to music concerts, that is something that they can do. Still, it does not mean they always do.

Amish teens that stay inside their communities use this period for relatively similar experiences but just done in a way that fits the Amish culture. More informal gatherings are a part of Rumspringa for the young people that spend that time at home. Young Amish are very socially active during Rumspringa, as they enjoy plenty of outside activities, picnics, and supper parties. Because of this, it is also common to search for a partner during this period.

Parties Gone Wild

In the state of Pennsylvania, Rumspringa teens are known for organizing crazy parties. Young people from Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan gather in hundreds. Unfortunately, the parties are often stopped by the police because they have to react to such big groups going a bit wild. Three hundred people drinking, that is a way to throw a party. These kinds of events lead to many myths and misconceptions about the Rumspringa, which mostly portray this critical period of a young Amish in a negative light. 

Given the age in which Rumspringa happens, it is not a surprise that it is often linked with drug and alcohol abuse. It is often portrayed as a specific cut in the life of a young Amish, where they do not have to behave like they do in their communities. Again, just because they technically have their hands free to try new experiences, it does not mean that every Rumspringa teen is doing so, or even wants to do so. It is estimated how 80% of young Amish people that leave their communities for Rumspringa, come back to live a traditional Amish life. 

Choosing more education and getting different degrees in school always seems like a good idea. During Rumspringa, some Amish teens decide to search for different types of education. Inside the Amish communities, in most cases, there are only eight grades for kids to attend. The focus then shifts on learning practical work skills that will help them make a living.

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